The Indian Question in Kenya

KENYA COLONY, or, as it used to be called, British East Africa, is a tropical possession of the British Empire situated right on the Equator. Topographically it may be divided into three main sections. The northernmost of these, consisting largely of desert and unproductive soil, may be ignored for the purposes of this discussion; the value of the Colony both actual and prospective lies in the south between the island of Mombassa on the Indian Ocean and the shores of Lake Victoria Nyanza. The second main section consists of the actual sea coast (including Mombassa) and its immediate hinterland. As we go westward from the coast we pass through this low lying belt into the third section, which gradually rises until it becomes a high tableland at an average elevation of some 5,000 feet. It falls again to the shores of the great lake, though by no means to sea level. Nairobi, the capital, is between 5,000 and 6,000 feet above the sea.

Out of Kenya's total area of some 246,000 square miles this elevated tableland covers roughly about 50,000, though it has never been accurately surveyed. Its existence is of the highest importance to the present question, for it is only the "White Highlands," as it has come to be called, that makes European colonization at all possible. From this point of view the position is not unlike that in India where what may be called the agricultural settlers, the tea and coffee and rubber planters who alone own lands of any extent, are confined to the more elevated slopes.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, chiefly owing to the enterprise of explorers, British trade began to be attracted to East Africa, but no attempt was made at first either to administer the country or to establish a colony. But when Germany put in an appearance in the eighties it became necessary to define the respective spheres of influence. Kenya Colony was allotted to the British. The island of Mombassa together with a strip of the coast extending inland for ten miles remained under the Sultan of Zanzibar, but in 1890 a British Protectorate was declared there and the administration is now carried on in conformity with British ideas. As happened in India, a trading company whose original object was only profits was driven by the force of

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